• Keeping Friends

More on Friendship Circles: Sprichst du Deutsch?

It is always interesting to discover the universality of female friendships. That’s why (with her permission) I wanted to post this Facebook message that I received from Carolina Asuquo-Brown.

By way of introduction, Carolina studied American literature and psychology in Germany and in London and now practices psychotherapy in Frankfurt, Germany. She is especially interested in communication and its breakdowns, and how this affects human relationships—especially female friendships.

She has a blog on friendship and relationship issues (although it’s in German).

Hi Irene,

After speaking to my girlfriends, what emerged from these conversations is my theory on friendship circles. Apart from the introversion/extroversion aspect that dictates whether women gravitate to dyads or circles, it could be age that determines whether you feel more or less drawn towards groups.

I am an introvert myself, but as a teenager and student I still enjoyed friendship circles more than I do now. The women I spoke to and I enjoyed the group thing but always had one or two significant friendships within the larger circle.

Once we hit our late 20s though, almost everyone has experienced the return of the dyad, including me. I now prefer having one-on-one friendships where my friends have little or no connection with each other (I was thrilled to read your stuff on friend poaching; that’s actually the phenomenon that made me go off the circles!).

Maybe as we age, we move in different directions and the initial homogeneity we find in say, groups of high school friends, is no longer existent. I think that that contributes to what women characterize as  “talking behind others backs, cattiness, jealousy“ etc.,” as another lady writing on your Facebook wall put it.

Rivalry might also come into play since many women still find themselves in “either or“ situation when it comes to important life choices. (At least here in Germany –maybe it’s a cultural thing, and sometimes I do feel we are a bit behind.) As a woman you often get the impression that you can only be one OR the other and that the choice you make is the most important determinant of who you essentially are:  a mum or a professional, single or in a relationship. Some women tend to fight pretty hard against the “other” concept, maybe because it signifies the path not taken.

A far as I can tell from my experience and that of my friends, that is one reason why circles tend to be less harmonious the older we get and more issues like jealousy and putting down the other’s choices creep in. I just had to write, as this is so much on my mind at the moment and I am still thrilled that and how you deal with female friendship issues.:-) Love your work and am looking forward to the book coming out!

Carolina

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (5)

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  1. Irene says:

    Hope you enjoy it and find it worthwhile.

    Best,

    Irene

  2. Fellow German says:

    How nice to find a reply! Well, that explains it 🙂 BTW, I ordered your book and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. It should be in the mail today.

  3. Irene says:

    Thanks for your note. Carolina had a baby not too long ago so that may be why she is laying low for now.

    In any case, I’m glad that you found my blog helpful. Hasn’t the internet made the world so much smaller?

    Best,
    Irene

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear Irene,

    I have stumbled upon your blog when trying to search for advice on how to save a friendship that is hanging by a thread. (Or maybe that thread only exists in my imagination, but let’s be optimistic.)
    I was so happy to have found this page and have perused the entire archive. That helped to ease my mind over several days and gave me valuable input in general.

    And what a coincidence to find a contribution by not only a German, but someone who is located in the same city. I was really eager to keep reading in the German blog, but when I click on the link it says it is set to private.

    I chose to take it as a sign that the author of this post even has her practice on a street parallel to mine, around five minutes walking distance. But unfortunately all the links to her practice are invalid. She seems to have discontinued practicing since this contribution was posted.

    Anyways, I just wanted to say thank you for your blog, I will definitely follow it!

  5. All you mentioned are true but sometimes, LOVE is TOO STRONG to control your feelings. You may have reasons to engage yourself into a relationship such as this – having a bf or gf older or younger than you are but the thing is, it’s all about the commitment and the chemistry of handling a good relationship. These are natural reasons but there’s always a deeper basis once you are in that relationship. Just a thought. Thanks for the blog 🙂

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